That hasn’t changed for me ever in my life, and sure I could say the same thing about how I feel when I have to speak in a group about anything, but praying out loud is somehow heavier. So what happened today may be God doing what he always does, or God doing specifically what he had in mind when I prayed what I prayed, or God doing what he was going to do aside from anything I prayed. I wonder?
There’s more to it… I struggle with the repetitious nature of group prayers, the competitive feel of it sometimes, the limited vocab we use, the way I believe God might find what I say trite or redundant given he already knows everything there is to know. Still there is mystery in prayer, and I have been reading a book lately that points to a way of being with prayer that is quite attractive to me…to live my life as a prayer…everything matters…everything counts…when my heart is in a posture of reverence and gratitude before the Father. These days I am leaning more into a contemplative way of being in prayer. It’s a learned way. It’s a way I want to learn more about.
But prayer can also be specific, and at a given time, alone or in groups. And as the various members of our group prayed around the circle today I wondered, what on earth can I offer with integrity?
All I know is this…sometime between 2:15 and 2:45 pm today I prayed a short prayer out loud in a group setting. Very short. Pretty much these words;
God, we have so many needs here. And you are a God with lots of connections. Could you please send people to help us?
And when I was done praying I began to do what I always do…self analysis, critical dissection of my choice of words and how odd and how silly and really, couldn’t I have said something a little more eloquent than that? Condemnation…yes!
Fast forward 30 min to when a member of our community joined our meeting with a huge smile, and we soon found out why. In another meeting that kept them late from ours, a meeting where our representative often feels unheard; today tangible and wide support was offered up to us in ways that left our representative dumbstruck. A shift occurred this afternoon. Between 2:15 and 2:45 pm.
Coincidence? Reading something into nothing? Or, could a short prayer offered up in earnestness count for something in the spirit world that changes something in the real world?
Someone at the meeting said maybe I should pray out loud more often… :) I’m not convinced yet.
Thanks for sharing this, Lesley-Anne. Love it! And I’m wondering which book you’re reading. . .
“Opening to God” by David Brenner…a good read. What are you reading?
The same one :) And I’ve also really appreciated the Linn’s “Sleeping with Bread.”
Sleeping with bread was recommended to me a couple of years before SoulStream…it is a lovely book as well.
Your writing is clean and heady and smooth and fine. Really wonderful.
The power of prayer.
I pray pretty much, all the time, constantly – if speaking to oneself in the company of God, is prayer.
I’ve thought about that a lot. The company of God. So then I have a meditation exercise that takes about an hour where I clear everything and go deep inside and think about myself, who I am, what a soul is, where I’m coming from, why I’m here now, where I’m going, what I’m thinking – then focus on God, and kneel and surrender and thank and ask.
Is THAT prayer?
I used to pray out loud with my boyfriend. He didn’t like it at first. He’s not religious. And more and more I felt bad doing it because open prayer with another necessitates thinking about, and praying for, them, as well as for oneself, and what right do we have to pray for each other?
And so I stopped for a while. And the quality of my bedtime, and the quality of my waking-up time, suffered.
And so now I pray again, out loud, before I sleep, the Our Father and at least try and listen, and feel, with all my heart and mind, the words.
What is prayer?
I am aware (most times, after the fact!) Of the difference between talking to myself, and talking with God and I wonder sometimes whether it’s as easy as saying hi, or whether it must always be, considered supplication.
It feels like the former – especially because the habit of referring to God somewhere within the conversation has stuck.
What is prayer? I find that I pray for groups now, when I have the chance, or when I’m asked. It doesn’t go so well when I’m questioning myself or when I’m not feeling pure – and I hardly ever feel pure.
Still. When it’s right, something stirs within; Compassion for the people, and then, sweetly, compassion for myself.
What is prayer?
I enjoyed this post a lot, and sending a radiant African smile.
“I pray pretty much, all the time, constantly – if speaking to oneself in the company of God, is prayer.” says it all for me…without ceasing…yes!!! What a delight to hear from you, and such a honest response that I will read over and over. We should talk about these things more often, I think. Compare notes :) With love from Canada, where spring is pushing back winter and the sun has come out again!